Now is the time on Sprockets….

… when we dance I mess with your RSS feeds! The HaldeCraft blog (hereby known as The HaldeBlog) is now here. Update your RSS feeds if you follow, and hopefully soon I’ll figure out how to automagic crosspost to Facebook/Twitter/G+.

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Sunday Six: Six gifts for the yarn lover

You love yarn. Yarn is probably on your wish list (doesn’t the Yarn Harlot tell non-yarnies that even though we all seem to have enough yarn, yarn is always a good gift?). Or maybe you’re shopping for that yarn lover in your life…? Maybe your yarn lover even sent you this link to give you some gift ideas. Here; let me help you with that! Here are six things HaldeCraft carries that the yarn lover is sure to appreciate.

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1. Yarn Club – the gift that gives for three months! Yarn club has a lot of appeal; you can get fingering or worsted weight, the colors are exclusive to club, and as a bonus the clubs are themed (usually around literature). This coming club runs from January – March and is inspired by Game of Thrones.
2. Pencil roving – Even if your yarn lover isn’t also a handspinner, pencil roving can make a great gift – especially for cold-weather crafting! Pencil rovings such as Athena and Neith come in long thin put-ups and can be crocheted or knitted as-is; this is great for thrummed hats and mittens!
3. Yarn bowls – Perfect for keeping that pesky yarn ball from rolling all over the floor; yarn bowls keep your yarn contained in one place. They’re also look beautiful – much more photogenic than a pile of yarn sitting near the couch.
4. Soap, decorated with yarn and knitting needles – No matter what sort of fragrance your yarn lover loves (floral, woodsy, herbal, earthy), any one of these twenty-four fragrances of soap is sure to be appreciated!
5. Yarn – Yarn lovers love yarn. You generally can’t go wrong with this standard! Different crocheters and knitters like to work on different things – if you don’t know yarn very well but know what your crafty loved one works on, drop me a line with the sorts of projects you see them working on and I’ll be happy to make base yarn recommendations!
6. Hand-built ceramic bowls decorated by a hand-crocheted doily – These bowls are great for everything from holding loose supplies, to jewelry on a dresser, to guest soaps and handtowels in a bathroom… they’re even hand-glazed in food-safe glazes so they’re perfect as serving dishes at the table!

Want to see more? I have an entire section on HaldeCraft devoted to Gifts for the Yarn Lover! After that, if you still don’t know which is the perfect gift, Gift Cards are always appreciated — and that way they can choose something themselves!

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Scenes from last week

Last week was a soapy blur of soap making and wrapping, and scrambling for paperwork, scanning, signing, etc. (I don’t remember, when I bought this house I live in now, 20 years ago, that the process was as time consuming as this house we’re trying to buy now).

Last shelf loaded; ready to fire tomorrow... First time since September, and I think that's the longest hiatus I've had since 2009. #ceramics

I finally got the last shelf in the kiln glazed and loaded…

Fresh from the kiln! #ceramics #mugs #tiles

… which meant I could finally fire the kiln! Most of this will show up again soon – there are some things I want to do with most of those mugs, decal work, that I’m planning for GLAM.

Small soap update coming later today, including these and a few more fragrances! #soap #handmadesoap

I had three or four small soap updates over the last week (you can find all my soap here), and that might be all that shows up until I put in any of the soap that doesn’t sell at GLAM. Maybe. I might have a few more bars — I still have about 80 bars to wrap, and my notes are in the other room (and I have a cat on my lap, causing what we call “cat paralysis” so I can’t just go get my notes).

Working on a little sumptin' for a December craft show... #ceramics #christmasornaments #GLAM2014 #glamcraftshow

I’m madly glazing a few more things for GLAM, some hat and mitten Christmas ornaments. I’m thinking red and green, for sure, but… what other colors? I have enough to do three each of four different colors….

My kind of Saturday night. #fire #sevenkindsofchilitoeat #goodtimes

… and we wound the week up with an annual Chili-and-Bonfire party out at the property of some good friends. It’s always good times, and I’m reminded every year how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

That was my week! How was yours?

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Friday Five: Five gifts for the owl lover

Whoooo is always looking for cute owl things? Whooooo do you know that collects owls? Whoooo — ok, I can’t keep doing that with a straight face. Owls. From the majestic photos of owls in flight to the cutesy owls on the latest WOOT t-shirt… we either love them, or know someone who does love them. If you’re looking for a unique owl gift to give to someone you like, I’ve got you covered! HaldeCraft has an entire section on owls, but here are five of my favorites.

Five_Owls

1. Owl tumbler and toothbrush holder set. Sets off that nature or owl themed bathroom! In stock in three different colors, $25/set.

2. Retro owl soap dish. If the bathroom in your house is a little on the retro side, this soap dish is the perfect thing to tie into that! In stock in three different colors, $10.

3. Owl bookends. These little guys just look more and more wise the more books they hold up. In stock, $55.

4. Owl Christmas ornament with red, orange, and yellow hat. An owl hangs on your tree in THAT hat, you know he’s not afraid of anyone. (Nerd points if you get that reference). Not sure if you want a tri-color hat? I also have them in orange and blue stripes, dark brown speckles, light tweed, and a miscellaneous hodgepodge that includes red, white, and green. Lots in stock, $12-$15 depending on how many colors are in the hat.

5. Sleepy owl mug. Do you feel that way before you’ve had your coffee? Yep, thought so. So does he, you can tell by his sleepy eyes! In stock, $24.

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Works-in-Progress Wednesday (11/19/14)

GLAM_profilepicWhat are you working on this week? This week I’m all about prepping for GLAM (Sunday, December 7th!)

This week in ceramics I fired the kiln for the first time since September. I wanted to hug my kiln and tell it that I had not forsaken her, I’ve just been keeping too many plates in the air and it’s been hard to find consistent time to glaze bisque. But now I’m in that pre-GLAM excitement phase where I’m trying to finish up a few things I started in hopes I’d be accepted… so I need to fire the kiln at least once a week for the next three weeks. Hoooray, ceramics!

In soap, I’m also madly Making. I’m doing restocks for sold-out soaps (thanks, y’all!) as fast as I can, but my main focus is GLAM. Of course anything that doesn’t sell out there will get put up on the site, and it will get up there in time to be sent out for Christmas gifts! About half the soap I’m bringing this year are sample fragrances; either samples sent to me by distributors that I’ve been meaning to try out, or ones that I’m thinking of bringing in next year as limited or regular fragrances. Would anyone be interested in getting a sneak peek at the fragrance list of soaps going to GLAM?

In yarn, I’m not doing much; GLAM is not really a yarn event, so I’m not trying to make anything just to bring with me, like I do for Fiber-In. Yarn lovers have really been showing their appreciation for my upcoming club (thanks, y’all!) and I just placed an order for the luxury yarn I’ll be using in that round. Mmmmm, yaaaaaaaaaaaarn.

In knitting, I’m slogging away on the never-ending stockinette portion of a hat… I need to go to a movie so I can knock out the last couple of inches without continually looking at it thinking, “this may be the most boring knit ever”. What? You don’t take your boring knitting to the movies with you? How do you sit STILL for two hours?

And in reading, I finally caught up on my RSS feeds enough to feel I could start a book; Tana French’s new novel, The Secret Place. If you’re not familiar with her and you like well-crafted mysteries with multifaceted and layered characters, get thee to a bookstore! She has well edged out my other favorite mystery writers (Tony Hillerman, Nevada Barr, Patricia Cornwell) to jump to the top of my list. Her mysteries are set in the fictional Dublin Homicide Department, and while a few of the same characters pop up from book to book, her main characters are always different — with the exception of her first book, the main character is always someone who had a small walk-on roll in the book before. I love that!

Anyway. That’s my week. What are you working on, working through, doing?

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The book that changed my life

20141116_124430_1I wouldn’t necessarily call this book my favorite book – after all, how many times have I reread Alas, Babylon and Watership Down? But The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron did change my life.

The year was… hmm. I don’t even remember the year. Maybe 1996? 1997? The Reader’s Digest Condensed Version is that I had been married for a couple of years and knew I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t sure why. I knew I wanted more creativity in my life, and as writing runs in my family, the more I thought and reflected, the more I wanted to see my name on that bookshelf in the store next to my father and uncle.

So I picked up The Artist’s Way, which I had heard was good for breaking through blockage, good for prompts and inspiration and getting you into a new mental stride. And I loved it! Daily journaling to clear my head? Wonderful! Helped me both brain-dump and focus. Weekly artist dates? Fabulous! My inner creative loved having times to pop out, as she had been stuffed down and put away for quite some time as I took on more and more responsibility at work and forgot about play-time. Daily and weekly prompts and activities? Perfect! A wide selection every week, and you didn’t have to choose all of them. Do the ones that call to you the most, for there’s a reason they call to you… and do the ones that repel you the most, because there’s probably a reason for that, too.

But the more I did those artist’s dates, and the more I found myself with a free day here and there… the more I found myself coming back to ceramics.

Ceramics had been my hobby most of my life, taught to me by my grandmother when at four years old, I failed at knitting and crochet but could get my fat little toddler fingers around a paintbrush. It’s something I would do every summer with her – my parents would send me off the Friday after school let out for the summer and it was reading and ceramics and fishing and sitting by the pool and watching her and my grandfather play cribbage until the Sunday before school started again in the Fall. After she had her stroke and moved in with us, one of the first things that she struggled to say, through her frozen throat and tongue that wouldn’t let her say much beyond “shit” and “Oh, Daddy” for the rest of her life (two phrases which she put to good use over the next six years)… was that under no circumstances were her kiln and molds and ceramic paints and supplies to be thrown out. They were go to go me. And they did; for the next six years I would sit next to her on weekends and whenever I would come home after leaving to go to school, letting her watch me clean greenware, paint, glaze, and open the kiln. It’s a hobby I continued after her death in 1991, although I was working long hours in retail and as I moved up the chain of command I had less and less time off… and the time off I did have became filled with things like shopping and laundry and dating and all those things that being an adult brings.

After about 1994 I didn’t really have time. Or room — around 1995 or so I was living in a small apartment and getting married, and the kiln and my ceramic supplies had gone into storage late 1994, when my father had to suddenly sell the farm where he’d been living.

Then I spent a year or two not doing ceramics… and then I did The Artist’s Way. Soon I was buying greenware again at my local ceramic shop, and getting my things fired there. Then I was getting my kiln out of storage and asking my dad to rewire the back porch for 220. Then I was playing in clay on my scant days off. Now playing in clay is what I do all the time.

That’s the book that changed my life.

This topic inspired by Lisa Jacobs; 27 Blog Topics You Can’t Wait to Write About.

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Scenes from last week

I was just telling a friend on the phone yesterday that I don’t remember, when buying a house 20 years ago, it being quite this time consuming. As such, I don’t really have a lot to show for this last week, work-wise!

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I finished a pattern I’ve had in my head for a while for a new pair of socks. Of course I don’t have time to type up the pattern, but you can expect this (and the fingerless gloves pattern I worked up earlier this year) to be released some time in 2015. Ideally early 2015, as I have hopes to be able to chart these up while we’re packing and moving, and I might have two weeks or so in there were I can’t make anything but will still be itching to be creative. Charting cables and typing up pattern instructions will be perfect to scratch that itch.

I know it's not much but here's a small restocking of soap! Amber Patchouli, Ancient Sedona, Hinoki Wood, and perpetual favorite Kentish Rain - -  all listed on the site now! #soap #handmadesoap

I made a little bit of soap, so had a small restock yesterday (soaps are here). I’ll have another small update late next week, too.

Second coat, in progress. #ceramics #mugs #painting

I got the second coat of paint on the mugs, and think I’m going to risk not putting a third on there. I’ve already got one coat of glaze on them as I write this, will get a second on tonight, a third tomorrow, and this should fill up the kiln. I should fire on Tuesday — first kiln firing since SEPTEMBER. ouch.

Through the studio door

And twice last week we went out for half a day to look at the property we’ve put an offer on. Once to meet with the Realtor, look over the property more, and get dimensions of the rooms in the house (because we’re just nerdy enough to want to pre-block out where we want furniture)… and once to meet with the Inspector, so he could tell us if the roof was about to fall in or anything. Nothing was brought up that we didn’t expect… the house isn’t in great shape but That Poor Man and I are both pretty handy, so between us and our handy friends and family, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

Happy Sunday, all!

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